There’s a rare sight to behold in New Zealand, that is, if you can find it.
New Zealand’s yellow-eyed penguin continues to dwindle in numbers across the country. The endangered and shy yellow-eyed penguin is distinguished from other species by its bright yellow eyes and its yellow head, which includes the surroundings of its eyeballs.
Around 10 years ago, experts believed there to be only about 6,000 of them remaining in the wild, but more modern surveys put that number around 2,000 instead.
With much their natural habitat having been bulldozed down for agriculture and livestock and burned down from natural fires over the course of the last several decades, they’ve hardly had anywhere to go all this time.
Nevertheless, they (what’s left of them) continue to survive in the small crevices of forestation that they’re able to find.
When they’re not in the forest, they’re in the water. Here, they often compete and fight with each other over food in order to survive, as fish population in the area hasn’t been all the great either.
It’s considered the rarest penguin species in the world, the New York Times reports, and since it’s so difficult to track these little creatures, there’s little we can do to preserve them.
Preservation efforts are in effect, but they’re not doing enough to save the species from near extinction status. The average survival rate out of 100 born chicks is said to be about 18, which is not a very good turnaround rate for the species.
The only way to preserve this species is going to be to ramp up preservation efforts even more than they are already, preventing more of their habitat from being destroyed.
Source: Care 2, New York Times